NEW YORK CITY – Doyle New York hosted a crowded showroom on November 1 and 2 while collectors from around the world competed for vintage couture and Bakelite and costume jewelry at an auction of couture, textiles and accessories.
The sale featured part I of one of the world’s largest known collections, and totals climbed to nearly $2 million.
The auction also offered couture from well-known designers, representing fashion history from the Eighteenth through Twentieth Centuries. Part II will be conducted May 2 and 3, 2001.
Linda Donahue, the firm’s couture, textiles and accessories specialist, commented, “this collection is hitting the market at a time when costume jewelry and accessories are experiencing tremendous popularity worldwide.”
Costume jewelry offerings included signed examples by Hobe, Wiener Werkstatte, Schiaparelli, Haskell, Chanel, and Coppola e Toppo. A squiggle-shaped, brass Alexander Calder necklace grabbed the top lot of the sale at $31,050, and a Wiener Werkstatte cuff bracelet of silver with coral accents that is attributed to Josef Hoffman, circa 1910, hammered down at $29,900.
Competition was fierce among Bakelite collectors for bracelets with decorative motifs such as polka-dots, bowties, laminates, stripes and geometric designs. The most sought-after pieces were gumdrop and bowtie bracelets, which took several of the top lots, the highest of which fetched $19,550 for a group of three.
Bakelite brooches also attracted bidder interest. “Love Letter” brooch in the form of a fountain pen suspending a heart and three love letters commanded a price of $10,350. A private collector snapped up a rare Bakelite and wood figural “Pumpkin Man” brooch for $8,625.
In the couture section, the top lot was a sleeveless ivory satin court dress and train from the 1920s that fetched $9,775. From the same time period and realizing $6,900 each were a sleek Jeanne Lanvin shimmering silver beaded chemise, and a classic, black Fortuny Peplos gown. Characteristic of Hollywood designer Adrian was a 1940s black crepe strapless evening gown that sold for $6,900. An ermine and sable coat from the 1920s garnered $6,900.
Judith Leiber, the “Couturier of Handbags,” was represented by more than 85 lots of jeweled minaudieres, most of which were in good condition and sporting the original tags. The highest price achieved was $3,450 for a “New Yorker” bag designed to resemble the cover of that magazine. A Chinese Foo Dog minaudiere captured the eye of a collector and was purchased for $3,162.
Competition was also lively for Louis Vuitton luggage. An unnamed Hollywood actress paid $10,350 for a custom leather wardrobe trunk from the 1930s and $4,312 for custom leather shoe carrier. Approximately fourteen Bes-Ben hats were featured in the sale, reflecting the whimsical taste of the famed Chicago milliner of the 1940s and 50s. The top performer was a Bes-Ben Snail Hat that sold for $3,162.